I recently got a metal lathe. The first project I planed was a oscillating engine. Since I have not worked much on a lathe before I decided to make a wooden prototype to get to know the machine. Also, if I messed up, I would only waste a few pieces of scrap wood. Luckily for me I have lots of scrap wood since a dead tree fell over in our garden. I am quite impressed how easy it was to use the lathe (on wood) and the engine works quite well.
The engine runs on a small air pump that I have in the shop (or on lung power). The next engine will be the real deal made from metal and run on steam. I plan to build a small brass boiler to generate the steam in. The whole mechanism will be mounted on one of my models to make it run via steam power. Stay tuned to see the progress of this idea.
I recently got a free piano – thanks Susanne. Although the piano is in a working condition there are a few things that need maintenance (such as tuning and fixing small things in the mechanism and case). I will also restore several of the wooden parts and started with the bench.
This was a reasonably quick and fun project. Working with furniture leather is really quite easy. The music was engraved on the leather using a very low power setting on the laser. The piece is the first page of Clair de Lune by Debussy.
I am of course also now trying to learn how to play the piano. This is not as easy as restoring the bench (or fixing the mechanism or actually making anything). I cannot just watch a few YouTube videos and then reproduce what I see without hours and hours and hours of practice. This is a completely different project from the normal things I do. But I think it is good to try something completely different sometimes. I will practice for one year (try to do at least 30 minutes per day). If I am happy with the progress I will continue, if not (as I might not be musically inclined enough), I will have a very nice looking bookshelf – which I will probably pass on to someone that can use it better.
The letters I get are mostly spam or bills. I thought that I would enjoy it a bit more if I could open it with a nice letter opener. I had a small piece of steel and decided I will try my hand at working with metal and make a letter opener.
Here is the video of the making of a letter opener (or a classy shank):
I learned a bit during the process as this was my first time working with steel. I don’t think that I needed to harden and temper blade as it is only a letter opener – but I wanted to learn how to do it as I have more blade making projects in mind (I will however make a better devil forge in the future for these kinds of projects).
The letter opener is by no means perfect. I needed to change the design halfway through making it as the edges of the holes I enlarged was very uneven and ugly. I decided to make an inlay with epoxy. I found that, as with woodworking, most of the time spend was sanding.
I am however happy with the final product and enjoyed the process of making it.